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June 6, 2024 10 mins
Brian McTaggart, Astros beat reporter for MLB.com, joins The Matt Thomas Show to break down how injuries to the roster will affect the Astros chances to make the postseason, as well as how the organization will position themselves with the trade deadline approaching. General manager Dana Brown announced Wednesday that starting pitchers Cristian Javier and José Urquidy are both scheduled to have right elbow surgery and will be out for the rest of this season and part of next season. This is another blow to an already damaged rotation. "There is no depth," McTaggart said. "Their roster is a little thin," and "the Triple-A talent is not the greatest." According to McTaggart, Luis Garcia is expected to return "after the All-Star break," and Lance McCullers will be "five weeks behind Garcia." The MLB trade deadline falls on July 30, and McTaggart predicts the Astros "will be buyers" in the first baseman and starting pitching market. "Neither [Jon] Singleton nor [Jose] Abreu have been very good defensively," so "the longer you don't address first base...it's only going to get harder."
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Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
Brian McTaggart tag, they allow youto had vacation time in the middle of
the season. I mean, youdon't work that hard. Come on,
now, what's going on with that? Yeah, I've I've had two I've
had a couple of one week vacationshere in the last month. So I
get more time off than Johnny Carson. Somebody told me so. But I'll
be back tomorrow. Yeah, it'sI think it's kind of rather lazy because

(00:21):
there are people trying to I mean, Alison Footer wants your job immediately.
I don't know what's going on withthat, but there's a lot, a
lot of relationship issues between the twoof you at this point. Well,
I got to rest up for October, you know. Oh, I see
how you're working. I see howyou're working out of that. Hey,
I got a logistical question for youabout arbitration and we were just talking about
it forty minutes ago, and Idon't know if you do the answer to

(00:41):
this. So look, or Katieprobably isn't going to pitch next year.
I mean, there's a chance ifthe Tommy John comes, let's say at
least on schedule. But let's sayhe doesn't pitch next year. What do
they have to do it's this lastyear of arbitration. Do they have to
offer him a minimum amount of moneyjust to be on in the organization or
they can they can they just cutties with them right now if they wanted
to, Yeah, they could nontender him at the end of the season

(01:03):
that he'd become a free agent.You know, if they tender him,
then they got to go through thearbitration process. So I mean, and
he'll get a raise, I thinkI think mccollor's before his extension went through
arbitration when he was in Jerdany.Just I mean, you're gamming to get
a raised, so he would geta raise, wouldn't be much of one,
but you know, yeah, theymight decide, especially if they need
the forty man roster spot or justyou know, let's let's just let's just

(01:27):
non tender him and move on.So that'll be a decision they'll have to
make at the end of the season. So as that happened other places,
Because I would assume that people doget hurt and do miss large periods of
time, whether it's a pitcher oror a position player. I mean,
that would be and I don't meanto be rude to Jose, because I'm
sure he's a very fine guy,but you're you're essentially maybe paying for maybe

(01:49):
a month and a half of baseballpitches. Maybe Again, I don't help
me out with this. Help mewhy the Astros would even tender him?
Yeah, I mean, you know, it's ah, there's probably some loyalty
towards him. I mean, they'sa he's a quality arm when he's healthy.
But if he's injured so much andyou know, misses two full seasons,
you know they could, you know, but let's just, you know,

(02:12):
let's just cut ties and go elsewhere. I mean, it's I think
it's pretty rare for guys who areinjured to getting non tendered. I don't
know if there's any rules that saythey can. I don't think that's the
case. But you know, theyhave a lot of a lot of piston
Jose or Keaty now a couple ofsurgeries, and and you're right, he
is one of the he is oneof the best guys in that club,
a great guy, and it's justa shame he's having to go through this.

(02:36):
All right, Uh, Jeff passingan article today about what he thinks
the Astros will do in terms ofbuying and selling. Look, we're still
about eight weeks away from ultimately beingthat around the trade deadline. As they
sit right now, there's seven backfinishing off a homestand when they went five
hundred the schedule. We'll start tosoften up a little bit here, but
so too will the Seattle Mariners schedulingsofting up as well. What is your

(02:59):
state in the team after watching themgo losing two out of three to the
Twins and then winning those two orthree against the Cardinals this week, what
what's on your mind right this momentas we speak. Yeah, I mean
they're just sort of spinning their wheels. It just seems like there's they just
can't get all their everything, youknow, all their ducks in a row
at the same time. There youknow, they get Diaz going, and

(03:20):
then you know Bregman's hot, andthen he gets out and we all know
they're starting pitching right now. Thedepth is there is no depth. I
mean, these are the five guys. I mean, they they pull a
couple of guys off the scrap.You even put them at triple A.
But I think I do not seea scenario where unless they completely re crane
whatever sell I mean, he's gonnago for it. I certainly think they

(03:43):
could go after a starting cher,you know, maybe a first basement of
the trade deadline. You know,the question becomes who do they trade prospect
wise because they don't already have agreat farm system, but they have tradable
chips. They could get deals done, but again, you're digging a deeper
hole with your farm system if youdeal away another three four prospects just when

(04:04):
the farm system's really taken a hithere over the last four or five years.
So they're in a very interesting spotbecause I just don't think they're in
position to be sellers, but Ithink they'll be buyers. And you know,
how aggressively will they buy? Andwhat did they have to offer?
Yeah, and speaking of the rotationand the lack of depth, what do
you think it just your gut feelingas far as timelines and just a level

(04:27):
of impact to be had by bothLuis Garcia and Lance mccullor junior. Yeah,
I mean it looks like Garcia willcome back if he keeps progressing after
the All Star break, and mccullor'stold me a couple of times that he's
five weeks behind Garcia his recovery,he's five weeks behind him whenever he comes
back wherever he's doing in his rehab, that's what mccolors will be doing in

(04:50):
five weeks, So that would meanmid late August for mccolors. I think
it will make an impact just becauseit's another healthy arm. If they can
stay healthy somebody. Garcia is aguy who can really eat innings quality pitcher
as well, so just having anextra arm, not sure what you're gonna
get with mccullors, but you know, when he's healthy, he is,
you know, one of the best, you know pitchers that that they'll have.

(05:12):
So they do have a lot ofinjuries, a lot of concerns,
but a couple of arms are ontheir way, and you know, if
your astros, you cross your fingersand not only they can stay healthy,
but they can come back and contribute. And it feels to me like there
there's kind of a lack of depthas the position players as well, not
just the pitching. I mean itfeels like to me, Brian, they're
they're they're on the rage razors edge. The margin for error is so low

(05:34):
I mean you have, I meanthe last couple of days. I love
Jake Myers, but he's not acleanup hitter. Yeah, you're right.
Uh, the triple A talent isnot the greatest. I mean, they
do have some guys coming behind thata double A, but you know,
the guy's probably not gonna make animpact that the big leagues this year.
So their roster is a little thin. I mean they I think an offseason

(05:58):
they could, you know, maybestand to sign a couple of guys that,
you know, just for depth purposes. That could be guys who could
you know, step in and playin the big leagues for the entire year.
You don't have to go out andsign Pete Lomza or anything like that,
but just just replying us to deptha little bit, because upper levels
of the minor leagues, like yousaid, are thin right now. So
if somebody's injured a position premier,which you know, fortunately for them,

(06:23):
they haven't really had any significant positionplayer injuries like they did last year with
alto Bay and Alvarez. But oneof those guys goes down then sort of
like they're pitching, they're they're inbig trouble. Brian McTaggart MLB dot Com
with us here on Sports Talk sevenand all Right, Tag. So I
was at the ballpark a couple oftimes this week, kind of general stuff

(06:44):
about a bra who's return to firstbase. Neither him or Singleton have done
much offensively, really the better fora better part of two or three weeks,
especially since a Brew has returned.H Any whispers in the organization about
hey, we like what we see, or it's more the same, or
we're still holding out hope that there'sgoing to be some hot streak in his
bat over the next couple weeks,because I feel like the longer they continue

(07:08):
to go on with this, it'sgoing to become a more of a sore
subject. He's getting boot and pinchhitting opportunities. His defense been okay,
but the bat just doesn't look significantlydifferent than it did before he left.
No, and he was. Thething is, he was so bad before
he left that even if he comesback and is a tick better, it's
still not good enough for what youexpect out of first base. I think

(07:30):
that's a position that yes, theyneed to address sooner than later before they
fall too far behind. I thinkit's the trade deads closer gets closer.
I think that's a position they absolutelyhave to address. And again, you
don't have to go and get Petea Lonzo to gets somebody who can play
first base for you and give youcompetitive at bats and play above average defense,
because neither Singleton or braw You defensivelyhave been very good if you look

(07:55):
at the numbers. So if theirpitching can hold, they can address first
base. You know, I thinkthey got a shot to make a run
for this. Black Ross said,it's a razor thin margin at this point,
and the longer you don't address firstbase, you're just making it that
much harder. And do you feellike it's hampered the team in terms of
roster construction because of the fact you'vegotten only two guys playing the same position,

(08:15):
but two guys that are just notgiving you much offensively the same spot.
Yeah, it's not ideal. Andit's not like they can you know,
neither one can do anything else,and they're not big helps off the
bench. You know, Singleton cangive you in it bat here they're a
left handed bat. We all knowyou can throw a box. Neither one
is a long term answer at thispoint. I mean a brayw is just
not working out this year. Imean, they know that, and at

(08:39):
some point someone's just gonna have tosay get in a room and say,
look, we need to do something, and do it now. But you
know, if they get ten elevengames back, it might be too late
because not only are you chasing aMariner's team with the terrific pitching staff.
Now you get back in the Wildcard, there's like six or seven teams ahead
of them at this point, it'shard to climb over all those teams.
So it's probably go time at firstbase, I think, to figure out

(09:01):
what you're gonna do to improve.Excuse me, I got all choked up
talking to you. Last question,jan Are Diaz home runs in three straight
games. It comes off of himtaking a couple of days off. Do
you think Joe and maybe even yanArab said, look, maybe we need
to alter his schedule a little bit. Maybe that time off did him some
good, because obviously the bat thelast handful of days has been much more

(09:24):
impressive than it was a week ago. Yeah, I mean, I think
there's definitely something there that you know, he gets some time off, he
comes back and freshed and and hits. I mean, they have a very
capable backup in Kartini. I thinkmaybe if you start him two out of
every five games and Yaner three outof every five games, maybe mixing a
d Heer and there for Jannor thatit'll work out. Because you know,

(09:46):
he's swinging the bat like he didlast year. I mean I thought yan
Or Diaz with you know, hthirty five home runs this year and just
until recently, I was, youknow, wondering if you know he was
going to hit ten. So he'sshowing the pop, the opposite field pop
that we saw last year, whenthe ball just sounds different coming off it's
bat and the app to adapt toaltar is playing time playing just a tad
bit less than so be it becausethey went out and made Tartini their big

(10:09):
off season signing, and he's,uh, you know, he's a quality
guy. I mean, he couldstart for some teams, and so you
know, maybe need to lean outhand a little bit more. Brian,
my man have saved travels so southsouthern California. I mean, this has
gotta be a tough trip. LAand San Francisco on the same trip.
I mean, that's uh, that'sa tough travel for you, my friend
La San Francisco. Yeah, it'suh. I'm not a fan of the

(10:33):
Pacific time zone. I don't knowhow you feel about it, Matt,
but it's just uh. I don'tlike being two hours behind everybody else.
I wake up and I feel likeeveryone else is already eating once. I
absolutely love it. Do the show, take a nap, call an NBA
game, beautiful part of the country, zero issues with it. Talk to
you next week, Frank. Weappreciate it, all right. Let's see
that's Bran me Tagger
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